Friday, July 15, 2005

Chicken-Fried Rove Ass 

We are making every effort to stay abreast of the latest developments in the Karl Rove case, but as our sainted Maw used to say, Gre't Gawd A'mighty! -- our heads are spinning, spinning like plates on a stick on the stage of the old Ed Sullivan show, we tell you, at the sheer range and breadth of the perfidies we discover with each new click of the mouse:

1.) In light of new revelations by the NYT and the Washington Post that Mr. Rove's carefully-crafted alibis of the last few years are no longer operative, Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher announces that the Plame scandal should be upgraded to full "-gate" status. Plamegate it is. Mitchell also asks the question we've been waiting to hear: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

2.) Unnamed sources told Radar that it was jailbird Judy Miller who originally tipped Robert Novak to the fact that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA operative. "Novak then called his two White House sources—one of whom was Karl Rove—for confirmation and wrote the July 14, 2003 column that blew Plame’s cover." According to the same sources, Novak faces no threat of jail time for the (obvious) reason that he did a Mario Lanza for special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

(And by the way, we've been trying for months to remember where we'd heard Patrick Fitzgerald's name before. Wasn't he one of the two happiest sailors in the Irish navy?)

3.) In addition to Rove, Scooter Libby and Ari Fleischer are reportedly on the hot seat as well. Fitzgerald may also be investigating the possibility of a post-leak coverup coordinated by the White House. (Link courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.M.)

4.) Diarist Sherlock Google at Daily Kos has a timely reminder that Valerie Plame was certainly not the only operative whose covert status was compromised. From a Knight-Ridder article in October 2003:
Training agents such as Plame, 40, costs millions of dollars and requires the time-consuming establishment of elaborate fictions, called "legends," including in this case the creation of a CIA front company that helped lend plausibility to her trips overseas.

Compounding the damage, the front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, whose name has been reported previously, apparently also was used by other CIA officers whose work now could be at risk, according to Vince Cannistraro, formerly the agency's chief of counterterrorism operations and analysis.

Now, Plame's career as a covert operations officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations is over. Those she dealt with - whether on business or not - may be in danger. The DO is conducting an extensive damage assessment.

Larry Johnson - a former CIA and State Department official who was a 1985 classmate of Plame's in the CIA's case officer-training program at Camp Peary, Va., known as "the Farm" - predicted that when the CIA's internal damage assessment is finished, "at the end of the day, (the harm) will be huge and some people potentially may have lost their lives" . . . .

It appears that the Brewster-Jennings front was more than what is called "nominal cover," and was used as part of Plame's espionage, Johnson said.

That means anyone she met with could be in danger now, said Johnson, who described himself as "furious, absolutely furious" at the security breach.
This is an angle that the press should be covering far more aggressively. We are encouraged by Mr. Google's report that a former agent appeared on Keith Olbermann's Countdown yesterday to talk about "collateral damage" within the agency.

5.) Via Atrios and Sean-Paul at The Agonist: Rep. Henry Waxman today released a fact sheet on Karl Rove's nondisclosure agreement:
Independent of the relevance these new disclosures have to Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation, they also have significant implications for: (1) whether Mr. Rove violated his obligations under his “Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement” and (2) whether the White House violated its obligatins under Executive Order 12958. Under the nondisclosure agreement and the executive order, Mr. Rove would be subject to the loss of his security clearance or dismissal even for “negligently” disclosing Ms. Wilson’s identity.
6.) Joe Wilson was quoted by AP as saying that "my wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity" -- leading Matt Drudge and sundry other right-leaning intellectuals to clown themselves by reporting that hey! Plame wasn't undercover! There was no crime! Karl Rove is a great American, just like we told you all along!

Wilson meant, of course, that Novak's article ended his wife's ability to work undercover, as the AP explained in a prompt correction to the story.

7.) Justin Raimundo of AntiWar.com thinks that the ultimate target of Fitzgerald's probe is not Rove, but -- drum roll, please -- Vice President Dick Cheney. Of course, he's just guessing like the rest of us, but what is life without the ability to dream?

UPDATE: Read Billmon (here and here) and Murray Waas on the ontogenesis of the alternative, Rove-friendly narrative that is gradually coalescing in those mainstream press outlets that are most receptive to self-serving leaks from a certain unnamed "lawyer involved in the case."

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